I then convinced our group to go down the beach to a rock that was no more than 20 to 30 meters out into the water. I had swam there since elementary school. One side of the rock had a small ledge that looked to be purpose built for diving off of. Ever since I had known it, the water was relatively deep and with a shallow dive, perfectly safe. I took the initiative, and as short time group leader, drove (gracefully I thought) into the water. Though unnecessary for the story, at the time I was temporarily smitten by one of my friend’s friends who I met that day, and felt my glorious dive would be the spark to kindle the flame of her desire. If she ever reads this, let her know that I would have done it anyways driven by my own ego.
My body arced through the air with my hands spaced slightly wider than my head with my toes pointed and fingers cupped.
My fingers contacted the sand, arms crumpled from the unexpected force and my forehead was exfoliated by the bottom. My lower body suddenly went warm. This was very unexpected because the water was 47° (as I was told later). My arms wouldn’t move in the way that I thought they should. I knew at that point, partially from the swim classes I took in high school, that I had broken my neck. I also knew from my honors biology class, that I could hold my breath for an incredibly long time (up to three minutes if I had to). Because my muscles made me heavier than water, I slowly sank to the bottom, my arms floating uselessly in front of me. It was the first bone I had ever broken.